Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the Head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has called on the Vatican to strip Jimmy Savile of his papal knighthood.
Channel 4 News reports, Archbishop Nichols has written to Rome asking for Savile to be stripped on his papal knighthood in the recognition of the "deep distress" of his victims.
The posthumous annulling of a papal knighthood is unprecedented. According to the Daily Telegraph, Church sources say there is no established procedure to remove a papal honour posthumously, as the honour dies with the recipient. The source said:
The honour itself goes when the person dies but nevertheless it would appear on Papal honours lists. I don’t know if you remove it entirely...
Savile, a devout Catholic, was awarded the honour in 1990, as BBC News records. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II in recognition of the star's charity work. It is estimated that Savile raised £40 million for various charities during his life.
A spokesperson for Archbishop Nichols said:
While the outcome of the current police investigation is awaited, the allegations of abuse are deeply shocking and our thoughts go first to all those who have been abused. The Church invites all those who have suffered abuse to come forward to the appropriate authorities.